It was a long time since Jeanne had been able to lean on an older woman. Anne, Charles’s wife, took her under her wing. She noticed Jeanne’s tenseness and her air of worry and apprehension. In fact, she thought Jeanne looked old beyond her years. The morning after their arrival, when Anne sympathetically asked her what was wrong, Jeanne broke down in tears. Anne took her in her arms.
“It’s nothing,” Jeanne sobbed. “It’s nothing and everything.” Then she poured out her heart to Anne. Her life at Port Toulouse, her marriage to Pierre, giving birth to Marie when she was alone (she did not mention Martin), the moves from Port Toulouse to Île Saint-Jean, to Remshic, to Port Toulouse, to Remshic, to Île Saint-Jean, to Remshic, to Port Toulouse, to the Miré and now to the Ristigouche. How they stayed in each place sometimes for only a few months at a time, in rough lean-tos, in abandoned houses or even on the schooner. And living in fear. Always the fear and the uncertainty.
“Please, Anne, don’t think that I regret following my brother Joseph to Port Toulouse. I really don’t.”
“I wouldn’t blame you if you did, Jeanne.” Anne sighed. “You’re not telling me everything, are you?”
Jeanne Dugas of Acadia
by Cassie Deveaux Cohoon
$14.95, paperback, 274 pp.
Cape Breton University Press, June 2013